In order to grow spiritually, you need to study the Bible. There is a difference between reading and studying of the word. Reading involves knowing the story while studying involves understanding the story. Studying is more in depth than just reading.
In this article, our focus is on how to study the Bible. When studying the Bible you need to understand the classification of the Bible.
The Bible is divided into the old and new testament. Then there is a further division of genres – books of law, books of history, prophetic books, epistles, apocalyptic books, and Gospels.
Knowing this helps you to understand what you are reading the Bible.
If you are a beginner. Make the Gospels your preferable options, to begin with. The Gospels help you to understand the main character – Jesus who is preached in the entire Bible.
Begin by reading the four gospels then you can move to the book of Acts which teaches about the church which was founded on the teachings of Jesus as recorded in Mathew 16:18 ”And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it”.
Thereafter you can read proverbs which could be followed by Ecclesiastes as they were authored by the same person.
You might then decide to focus on a prophetic book like Jeremiah then follow it up with Lamentations. Following them in this manner would communicate to you what Jeremiah felt as he demonstrated what Israel would go through while they were in exile.
It is advised after reading the Major Prophets or a very lengthy book such as Isaiah, go ahead and read a book that would be easier to understand in order to avoid giving up. One good example would be Ruth or Jonah. Normally a less hefty book would be shorter. You could also opt for a New Testament book.
In order to understand the history of the Israelites which is portrayed throughout the Old Testament, you may need to read through the Pentateuch – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
The point is you may need to read the Bible consistently so as to understand the story. Remember the Bible is not a book that conveys many stories but has one story in many books.
Choose a preferred version
You can choose a simple version that does not circumlocute around the point or use complex English. Personally, I prefer NIV, CEV, and ESV as they tend to have original manuscripts of the translation and simplified language.
History of a book
In some digital Bibles (like you version) or analog Bibles like the Good News, you tend to see why the book was written and the audience it was written to. This helps in understanding how you can apply it. Not forgetting that ”all scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching rebuking and training in righteousness”. 2 Timothy 3:16
Do you need a Bible Plan?
That depends on you and what you want to learn but you have to be very careful with some Bible plans. For example, I would not advise you to go for the Bible in a year study plan because it is not about the quantity but the quality of your study.
Do not search for a verse- that equals to reading and not studying. Instead, study a book by possibly going through a chapter a day.
An addition could be Psalms alongside the book you are reading. This is because it is lengthy and you may need to relax even as you read the word.
Choose a consistent time and place
You may choose to study the word very early in the morning or late in the evening just before bedtime.
For early morning you have something to kick start your day and if you choose late evening it is efficient in providing refreshing after a long and tiresome day.
You may say you do not have time but if you really want to accomplish something you will create time for it.
You can sacrifice time before looking into your social media. Eventually, it will become a habit and you will enjoy doing it.
Cross references and footnotes
At the end page of your analog Bible, you find small writings.
This provides meaning to names, places and the verse in general. They provide context or meaning from original language before the translation.
The most important thing is to tap from the Holy Spirit hence pray before and after reading the word.
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